ripple effect: vacaville

d101 Rallying Around Solomon

Read 1 Kings 1:5-27.

[Stuff we’re skipping over:

* When David finds out that Absalom is dead, he mourns. Joab told David that he needed to quit mourning and congratulate his troops, otherwise there would be more rebellion. Then, the people of Judah, who followed Absalom, are convinced to join David’s side again after David replaces Joab with Amasa (his nephew).

* David returned to Jerusalem; and, along the way, he was praised and assisted by Shimei and Ziba. David actually ended up forgiving Shimei for cursing at him previously.

* David then finds out that Mephibosheth was tricked by Ziba into not going with David. The two make up.

* A rich old guy named Barzillai, who had been taking care of David when he was away, helped David across the Jordan. David offered to let Barzillai stay at the palace, but he let his son Kimham go instead. Also, an argument ensued between the people of Judah and the rest of Israel because they got to help David more. Weird.

* Some guy named Sheba got all the Israelites to desert David and follow him. The Judahites still escorted David home. When he got there, he had his ten concubines placed in seclusion because it would have been weird to sleep with them again.

* David sent Amasa, Joab’s replacement, to go and mobilize an army to take on Sheba. In the meantime, Joab murdered Amasa. Then Joab captured Sheba after some lady had his head cut off and throw over a wall.

* There was a famine in Israel, and it turned out that it was caused by the fact that Saul had tried to destroy the Gibeonites. David went to the Gibeonites, and they said that they needed to kill seven of Saul’s heirs as restitution. They didn’t kill Mephibosheth, but they did kill seven of Saul’s descendents.

* In a fight with the Philistines, another giant, Ishbi-benob almost killed David. But Abiathar got in the middle and killed him. From that point on, David’s fighting days were over. But, David’s warriors killed four Philistine giants.

* David sings a song of praise and gives a last speech. We also get descriptions of David’s mighty warriors.

* David performed a census, and God got angry. Through the prophet, Gad, David learned that God was going to send a severe plague on Israel. God ends up stopping the “death angel” from destroying Jerusalem. David ended up purchasing the land on which God stopped the angel, and he erected an altar there.

* In the beginning of 1 Kings, we find out that David is so old that he shivers when it’s time to go to bed. So, they found a beautiful girl named Abishag to lie with the king to keep him warm. They didn’t have sex.]


1. David’s son, Adonijah tries to take the throne. Geez. Can’t they wait until he dies?
2. Check out who turns their backs on David:
-Joab…yeah, I saw that coming
-Abiathar (the priest)…hmm, I wonder why he did?
3. Check out who stays loyal to David:
-Zadok…well, at least he kept one priest
-Benaiah…his bodyguard
-Nathan…the old-school prophet
-Shimei…the cusser!?!
4. Nathan’s got David’s back. He goes to Bathsheba and arranges for Solomon to become the new king. Smooth.
5. It’s cool to see Bathsheba doing something good. She usually gets a pretty bad rap.

So…I wonder how all this is going to shake down.


d100 A Reason to Get a Haircut
July 30, 2007, 3:28 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, abiathar, abishai, absalom, bathsheba, david, god, hushai, ittai, joab, mephibosheth, shimei, zadok, ziba

Read 2 Samuel 18:1-18.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* So…Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth (Saul’s grandson) basically accuses Mephibosheth of treason…aka…since Absalom’s “taking the power back,” Mephibosheth will profit from David’s loss. David believes Ziba and rewards him.

* OK…another random story. Shimei, a relative of Saul, cursed and threw stones at David while they were passing through. Abishai threatens to cut the dude’s head off, but David says to leave it in God’s hands. So…Shimei follows them along and curses and throws more stones.

* Hushai arrives in Jerusalem and joins Absalom’s “court.” Ahithophel advises Absalom to sleep with David’s ten concubines that he left behind to take care of the palace…in full view of the inhabitants of Jerusalem! {consequences of sleeping with Bathsheba #3!}

*Ahithophel encourages Absalom to pursue David then and there, while he is tired–an ambush. Hushai counters this advice by saying that they’d lose if they pursued then. Instead, they should assemble a huge army with Absalom leading the charge. Because God was with Hushai, Absalom followed his advice (sparing David and his men).

* Hushai sent word through the sons of Abiathar and Zadok to David to run because Absalom was planning an attack. In the meantime, Ahithophel hung himself because he realized that he was no good as an advisor anymore. At the end of this chapter, both sides are rested, assembled, and ready for emminent war.]

1. David is a macho guy; he wanted to go out with his troops. But, in this case, that would have been stupid. All Absalom’s army wanted was to kill David. So…he gave leadership to Abishai, Joab, and Ittai.
2. What do you think about David’s request for his “generals” to deal gently with Absalom?
3. Interesting that more people died because of the forest than the sword. What do you think that meant?
4. In quite possibly one of the most humorous scenes in the Bible, Absalom gets his afro stuck in a tree while his donkey runs off without him, leaving him dangling by his hair. Sweet.
5. Joab wants a piece of Absalom. The guy from David’s men knew not to mess with him, but Joab plunged three daggers into Absalom’s heart. Talk about being thorough!
6. Then they shucked the body into a hole and covered him with stones.
7. Ironically, the Bible then flashes back to tell you that, in Absalom’s life, he made a monument for himself out of stone. Oh well…now he has two?

d99 The Rise of Absalom
July 29, 2007, 12:17 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, abiathar, absalom, ahithophel, amnon, david, god, hushai, ittai, joab, zadok

Read 2 Samuel 15:1-37.

Time to shake the cobwebs off…

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* OK, so Joab hires a woman to tell make up a lie about how she had two sons who were in similar circumstances to David’s sons (Amnon and Absalom), and she asked if the “killer” son could be brought back to Jerusalem with no retribution. David agreed. Then she told him that she asked why he would do that for her but not for his own son, Absalom. David saw through who hired her; and, when Joab was summoned, he told him that Absalom could return to Jerusalem; but he would just not see him.

* We are told that Absalom is super-handsome with super-long hair. He also goes two years without seeing his dad. So, he sends for Joab. Joab doesn’t come. So (talk about a cry for help) Absalom has his servants light Joab’s fields on fire. Joab came. Joab went to David. David agreed to see him. Father and son were reunited.]

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t end well…

1. Sounds like America. Absalom wins the hearts of the people by complaining about issues that David, the king, isn’t in control of. Hooray for politics. Is there something better that we can do besides complaining about politicians?
2. In faux humility, Absalom doesn’t let the people bow to him. Instead, he embraces them. Sounds like he’s trying to get elected, doesn’t it?
3. Absalom is a sneaky punk. He lies to his dad and ends up lining things up so that he can overtake his dad as king. Why do you think Absalom is doing this?
4. Absalom gets stronger by wooing one of David’s best advisors, Ahithophel, to the dark side.
5. Man, Absalom must have had a powerful following because David’s runs…fast.
6. Ittai, the captain of the Gittites sticks with David. Maybe it’s because he knows David is the right horse to bet on?
7. Notice how sad everyone was to see David fleeing. He had been a good king, and the people must have loved him.
8. David instructs Abiathar to take the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. He didn’t want to selfishly keep it for himself. You’ve got to respect that. Abiathar and Zadok will serve as priests (and his spies).
9. Interesting prayer from David, “Let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice.”
10. Then David sends Hushai to be his mole/fake advisor to Absalom. Sweet. This ought to be interesting.

d98 The Sword in David’s House
July 14, 2007, 12:16 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, absalom, amnon, david, god, jonadab, tamar

Read 2 Samuel 13:20-39.

1. Do you think Absalom meant what he said to Tamar about “not taking it to heart,” or do you think he was just trying to console her?
2. It’s interesting that it says that David was angry, but it doesn’t really say that he did anything about it. Why don’t you think he did anything?
3. Absalom’s silence would make me a little nervous if I were Amnon.
4. What’s the deal with David? Why didn’t he go to Absalom’s sheep-sheering party?
5. So…Absalom gets all the sons to come to his party, but his plans are to have Amnon killed when he’s drunk. Can you imagine how long Absalom’s been thinking about this revenge?
6. Is Jonadab supposed to be making David feel better? “Oh, king, only Amnon is dead.” Even more, wasn’t it Jonadab who helped Amnon rape Tamar? Now he’s helping David make decisions? Weird.
7. Is it only me who is a little confused about everyone being so sad at Amnon getting killed?
8. So, Absalom goes to live in Geshur, away from David. But it says that David’s heart goes out for him… It seems like he’s happy that Absalom did something about Amnon, doesn’t it? Then again, a son killing another son is pretty unacceptable.

Anyway, if you’re keeping track of the consequences of David and Bathsheba “getting together,” we’ve already hit two: 1) dead son 2) the sword has definitely made its way into David’s house.

d97 Rape and Incest
July 13, 2007, 6:00 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, absalom, amnon, david, god, joab, jonadab, rabbah, tamar

Read 2 Samuel 13:1-19.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Joab beats Rabbah, the leader of the Ammonites in a battle, taking his crown and giving it to David. Joab’s army beat down all of the Ammonite armies.]

The story is one of the most disturbing in the Bible…

1. OK…so David had sons and daughters from different moms. So Absolom and Tamar were from the same mom, and Amnon was from a different mom. Amnon had the hots for Tamar, who was his half-sister. I personally have never had a half-sister who was beautiful; but I’d like to think that, if I did, I would be able to resist lusting after her.
2. So…Amnon has a cousin named Jonadab who is an idiot and actually tells Amnon how to rape his sister. Geez.
3. Hindsight is 20/20, but I would have thought this was a strange request from Amnon. If I was David, I think I might have snuffed that out. Maybe not. Then, when Amnon clears out the room so that it’s just the two of them, I would have thought that was a bit strange. I wonder what their relationship had been like before this. Maybe Tamar had some reasons to trust Amnon.
4. Tamar tried to reason with Amnon. She would be full of shame. He would be a fool. Maybe if they talked to David he could marry her? I don’t know if she really meant that. Maybe she just wanted to get near her dad, where it would be safe. I can’t imagine how helpless she felt at this time.
5. Amnon raped Tamar, and then he hated her. Hmm. You know, I’ve tried to figure this out. I don’t know what he was thinking. I guess the apple that he thought would be so great turned out to have worms in it. It’s just sad because it seems that he only wanted her because he couldn’t have her. Once he did, she was nothing to him. He kicked her out.
6. What do you think Tamar meant when she said that him kicking her out was worse than raping her?

d96 You Are That Man!
July 12, 2007, 2:29 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, bathsheba, david, god, nathan, solomon, uriah

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-25.

1. God sends Nathan to David. Sometimes He sends the exact right person for a time.
2. Based on the story, if Uriah loved Bathsheba even a fraction of how much the man loved his little lamb, David did a really bad thing.
3. Yeah…and, like the guy in the story, David really has plenty of “lambs.” He’s got at least six wives that we’ve counted. Bathsheba was all that Uriah had. Isn’t it just like human nature to want more even when you have enough?
4. David’s anger betrays him. In the theoretical world of imaginary lambs, David is ticked. But is can he really punish himself four times over for all the wrong he’s done to Uriah and Bathsheba?
5. Yeah…I was going to talk about this yesterday, but does this seem AT ALL like the David we have known in the last couple of chapters? This is the guy who killed Goliath, loved Jonathan like a brother, and showed total respect to God and Saul? Man. To take a line from David’s song about Saul and Jonathan, “how the mighty have fallen!”
6. Pay attention to the consequences of David’s sins: a) the sword will never leave his house (you’ll see this in the near future) b) someone will have sex with HIS women in front of everyone in the near future and c) the kid will die.
7. Notice that David admits his sin. Notice that Nathan says He “put [it] away.” But there are still consequences that God seems to take personally.
8. David’s child got sick, and it seems as if he tried everything to undo God’s judgment. It didn’t work. Once the child was dead, though, he realized that God did what God said He was going to do; so he went on with his life. It says he worshiped God. I wonder what that looked like?
9. David ended up having another kid, Solomon, with Bathsheba. This guy will be important…

Any thoughts about…

The bravery of Nathan?
David’s reaction to someone else’s sin?
David’s reaction to his own sin?
God’s reaction to David’s sin?

d95 Splish, Splash, She Was Takin’ a Bath
July 11, 2007, 2:13 pm
Filed under: 2 samuel, abishai, bathsheba, david, god, hanun, joab, uriah

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* The king of Ammonites died; and his son, Hanun, took over. David sent messengers to console Hanun, but he disrespected the messengers. Then Hanun bought hired mercinaries to fight against Joab, Abishai, and the forces of Israel. Basically, David also got into the battle and beat up on the Ammonites.]

Alriiiiiighty then…

1. First off, it says that it’s time for kings to go to battle. Why wasn’t David going to battle? Why did he send Joab and the boys?
2. OK…so…um…it sounds like David was really relaxing. Chilling on the couch. Walking on the roof. This is all while his soldiers are off fighting. What do you think about that?
3. Speaking of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, now David checking out some fine woman named Bathsheba (ironically) taking a bath.
4. It should have ended there. He should have said “woops” and got off the roof. But instead he INQUIRES about her. Hmm… Guys, sometimes we can’t help seeing or hearing something objectionable. But when we “look into” it, that’s where the problem begins. I understand that she’s probably REALLY good looking, but David should have just left it at that.
5. So, David is told that she is Uriah’s wife. Now, to us that’s kind of random. But, later on in the Bible, we find out that Uriah was a member of David’s “mighty men.” He KNEW Uriah. Cold.
6. Well, he calls for her and has sex with her. I guess, technically, he’s the king–he can do whatever he wants. But this is wrong! Turns out, the reason she was bathing was a religious observance. Man…doesn’t that make it even worse?
7. We don’t know much about what Bathsheba was feeling during all of this. Any ideas?
8. Of course she gets pregnant. Do you think God allows that to happen to that the truth has to come out?
9. So David schemes, using Joab to get Uriah to him. Uriah was supposed to go home and have sex with Bathsheba, so that it would look like the baby was his. Problem was, Uriah was loyal to his men. He just didn’t feel like a “honeymoon” was a good idea when the guys are fighting. I don’t know if I would be that loyal…
10. So…David schemes further, trying to get Uriah drunk so that he will get with his wife. But, nooooo…Uriah is loyal.
11. Then David’s schemes just get plain obvious and mean. He sends Joab with a note that says to stick Uriah up and the front of the battle and take support away from him. Uriah, and other Israelites, die that day. All because David wanted something that he just couldn’t (shouldn’t?) have.
12. What’s sad is that Joab knows EXACTLY what this is all about. He tells the messenger that if David freaks out about the severe losses, to tell him that Uriah is dead. Joab knows. It kind of makes you wonder who else knows what David is up to.
13. Then Bathsheba finds out. She mourns. How do you think she feels? Do you think she knows that David was “behind” her husband’s death?
14. Either way, David scoops her up; and the son is born. But God is not happy.

What do you think about…